Han Lay Says Thailand Won’t Send Her Back to Myanmar

Myanmar model Thaw Nandar Aung, also known as Han Lay, spoke about the Thai authorities’ decision to deny her entry to the country.

During a media interview, the 23-year-old former beauty queen said she was relieved to learn she would not be sent back to her native country.

Han Lay revealed that she had been detained at Suvarnabhumi airport since she arrived on Wednesday and that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been protecting her.

“The Thai authorities at the airport are also taking care of me… They have agreed that they will not send me back to Myanmar,” she added.

Miss Grand International Myanmar 2020 said that after she was denied entry to Thailand, she felt “a bit scared” because she didn’t want to return to her country.

“Now everyone is supporting me. I’ve got support from different countries, too. And Thailand will not send me back. I’m very appreciative of that. So, thank you to Thailand too… It feels like home living in Thailand,” she stated.

However, Han Lay is still unsure how long she will have to stay at the airport.

Thaw Nandar Aung traveled to Bangkok to participate in the Miss Grand International 2020 pageant but remained in the country after the Myanmar military junta issued an arrest warrant against her.

The move came after the model spoke out against the regime and criticized the February coup in her homeland while on stage.

While living in Thailand, Han Lay applied for asylum in Canada. She also extended her tourist visa in the kingdom every two months and flew to Da Nang in Vietnam once she reached the extension limit.

However, when she tried to return to Thailand, immigration authorities at Suvarnabhumi Airport denied entry, citing documentation issues. According to a source, her passport may have been revoked by Burmese military leaders.

Han Lay explained that her situation was “quite an emergency,” as she was unable to enter or leave Thailand. However, UNHCR is working on the case.

Responding to whether she thought Canada would approve her request soon, she said she wasn’t sure, adding that UNHCR cannot guarantee which country can quickly grant her asylum.

The model expressed that she hopes her case will be treated as an emergency and that a country will present a suitable asylum offer.